The Lincoln Mark Collection Vehicles, Feeling Continental (Half III)

The Lincoln Mark Collection Vehicles, Feeling Continental (Half III)


As we speak finds us on the third installment in our protection of the Lincoln Mark sequence vehicles. Thus far we’ve coated the unique Continental that ran from 1939 to 1948 and discovered in regards to the styling selections that made for essentially the most wonderful Midcentury Continental Mark II. The Mark II arrived to herald the beginning of the brand new Continental luxurious division at Ford. A division of Ford and not Lincoln-Mercury, Continental was established because the flagship of the Ford enterprise. We choose up circa 1952, with Cadillac.

The Cadillac Eldorado’s 1952 unveiling and subsequent arrival in 1953 was an issue for Ford, who needed to trounce Common Motors by way of a one-up. Prime brass at Dearborn HQ determined the easiest way to beat Cadillac on the private luxurious coupe recreation was to introduce a brand new model, one which was above Cadillac in value, fashion, high quality, sophistication, and all these different luxurious adjectives utilized in breathless PR documentation.

A small group inside Ford started Continental planning in 1952, as a venture of the Particular Product Operations unit. The group was led by Edsel’s son, William Clay Ford (1925-2014), together with aforementioned designer Gordon Buehrig and stylist John Reinhart, in addition to engineer Harley Copp. The group’s first try to woo the board at Ford with one other Continental was rejected. However they saved attempting, and the Mark II’s design was management-approved and accomplished in 1953. Undoubtedly, the Eldorado as a actuality on Cadillac supplier tons utilized some stress within the C-suite.

The Particular Product Operations workforce had greater concepts for the Continental model past the Mark II. They’d pitched an entire lineup of autos, together with a retractable hardtop convertible and a bigger four-door hardtop sedan. Sadly, none of these would come to be after Mark II’s debut. However we’ll talk about that later.

Ford wasn’t the one firm with a brilliant luxurious model thought; at about the identical time Chrysler unveiled its personal unique luxurious division: Imperial. Common Motors was the one model of the Large Three that didn’t pull a separate division tactic, nevertheless it didn’t appear to be Cadillac wanted a superior.

Continental and Imperial had issues in frequent and went after the well-heeled home automobile purchaser with guarantees of superior high quality and hand-made particulars. The place they differed was in physique types: The unique Imperial of 1955 and 1956 was obtainable with two- and four-doors, and in varied flavors like sedan, hardtop, and limousine. Mark II was a singular mannequin, obtainable solely as a hardtop coupe. The 2 manufacturers differed in value too, however extra on that in a second.

Continental’s Mark II mannequin title was meant to tie it on to the glamourous Forties mannequin that was so fondly remembered. Mark II particularly sounded European, as many autos from throughout the ocean used that nomenclature to differentiate between generations or mannequin updates. And so it was that the Continental division debuted in 1955, with its singular providing because the Mark II coupe. Appropriately, the Continental division made a splashy debut in October of 1955 on the Paris Motor Present. Ford adopted up with a US Mark II debut on the headquarters in Dearborn. The Mark II went on sale for the 1956 mannequin yr, a yr after Imperial’s introduction.

In line with Ford, the Mark II was a motorcar of the very best high quality. It was hand-built and bought at nice expense to an unique purchaser group who had been lucky sufficient to afford such an extravagance. The costliest automobile Ford produced on the time, the Mark II was additionally the most costly American automobile one may purchase. A part of its illustriousness, the Mark II was priced not with the competitors at Cadillac and Imperial, however moderately towards the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (1955-1966).

The Silver Cloud was RR’s “entry-level” mannequin, of the posh automobile class. It was trumped by the one different automobile Rolls-Royce supplied on the time, the fifth-generation Phantom. It was a really completely different time at Rolls-Royce, which turns into apparent when one considers the Silver Cloud’s trendy equal. It’s the Ghost, a really good model of the BMW 7-Collection.

At its debut, the Mark II requested $9,966 ($106,912 adj.) and had air-con as the one merchandise on its choices record. Those that needed to pilot the Mark II with minimal sweating paid $595 ($6,383 adj.) for factory-installed A/C. For comparability, the goal Rolls-Royce requested a heady $13,250 ($142,142 adj.) in 1956, which made the Mark II seem like a discount. Nevertheless, when in comparison with an Imperial Southampton two-door at $5,257 ($56,395 adj.) or $6,286 ($67,434 adj.) for the Eldorado Seville, the Mark II was most undoubtedly not a discount.

Beneath its luxurious bodywork, the Mark II shared its platform with the usual Lincoln vehicles of the day, Premiere and Capri. Each these fashions had been full-size vehicles, and as talked about beforehand the Capri was the upscale model of the fundamental Premiere. The body-on-frame chassis was edited right into a Y-shaped body that allowed a decrease physique peak and room for Mark II’s customary twin exhausts.

The platform edits made a distinction within the total look of the Mark II, as the top product was shorter than the Capri by greater than 4 inches, two inches narrower, and three inches decrease to the bottom. The windshield was additionally eight inches additional again than a Capri. The 126-inch wheelbase was unchanged from different Lincolns, however an total size of 218.4 inches, width of 77.5 inches, and peak of 56.3 inches had been all Mark II.

Ford pulled the usual Lincoln suspension for the Mark II however did make one notable change. The Mark’s 4,960-pound weight was fairly a bit heavier than the heftiest Capri, which weighed in at between 4,300 and 4,600 kilos. To deal with the heft and provides the advertising and marketing individuals one thing to speak about, Ford put speed-sensitive shock absorbers into the entrance finish of the Mark II.

Elsewhere in mechanical information, there wasn’t so much about which to boast. To maintain the already appreciable development prices down, the Mark II borrowed its engine straight from different Lincolns. The engine in query was the corporate’s Y-block V8, in its largest 368 cubic inch specification. The Y-block was a household of engines in use for a restricted time throughout Ford’s portfolio: Between 1952 and 1963, the engine was present in one in all six displacements in Ford’s heavy-duty vehicles, Lincolns, and Mercury choices.

The Y was Ford’s first OHV V8 mill. It was developed by Lincoln and was utilized in Lincoln autos first. Ford was pushed into growth of the engine as a result of successes Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac had with OHV V8s, significantly the Oldsmobile’s Rocket energy. Chrysler beat Ford to the punch too and supplied the Hemi OHV V8 from 1951 onward.

Energy output on the Y ranged from 160 to 300 horses dependent upon displacement and carburetor specification, with between 246 and 415 lb-ft of torque. The 368 was a brand new variant for 1956 and proved to be the ultimate growth of that specific engine. In Mark II utilization it made 285 horsepower at introduction, and 300 horsepower in 1957. Torque figures had been 402 lb-ft initially, and 415 lb-ft of torque within the Mark II’s second yr. The one transmission obtainable was a three-speed automated, a collaboration between Lincoln and Borg-Warner known as Turbo-Drive.

Though the platform and working gear had been customary Lincoln fare, the Continental division didn’t relaxation on customary company heels when it got here to the development and high quality of the Mark II. Extra on that in Half IV.

[Images: Ford]

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September 2022